- Don't make others feel bad about their choices. This means keep your running commentary to yourself. It's okay to have an opinion; when you do it in a way that makes others feel bad, you're an ass.
Example: An "artist" who hasn't picked up a paintbrush in 10 years attends an art opening. "Why are these people wasting their time? They should just give up," he says to a friend of the artists. Same guy goes to visit a friend with a new home in a "changing" neighborhood. "Why did you move? I liked your old neighborhood better."
Any seasoned armchair psychologist will tell you this guy is just projecting his feelings about himself. Doesn't make his statements any less rude.
- Understand that others are human. The other side of etiquette is letting small slights slide. Notice I said "small." The jerk who cuts you off in traffic. The customer who snaps at you, unprovoked. The arrogant snootypants at the gym who swipes the three towels you were about to take.
There's grace in letting these things go. We're human, we all have bad days, none of us are perfect. I've been an asshole in traffic, plenty. I've line-jumped in front of people I shouldn'ta. We all do. Especially when we're having a bad day. [WARNING: Sexist comment forthcoming:] Us ladies can be especially nasty, snippy, and unforgiving on some nasty hormonal days.
Be a little kinder than you need to be today. Someone else will be nice to you on your shitty days.
News: I'm speaking at Podcasters Across Borders 2010 in June! Check it out...podcasters and non-podcasters of all stripes are welcome. PAB 2010 promises to be fun, educational and inspirational. PAB is full of success stories.